Having a healthy baby means making sure you are healthy too. Before women even know that they are pregnant, the baby’s brain, heart and spine have already begun to form. One of the most important things you can do to help prevent serious birth defects in your baby is to get enough folic acid every day — especially before conception and during early pregnancy.
Why Folic Acid?
The baby’s spine develops from a part of the embryo called the “neural tube”. If it does not develop properly, babies are born with what is known as a “neural tube defect” (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) such as spina bifida (split spine). Some children born with spina bifida may eventually be unable to walk or take care of themselves.
Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is a B vitamin (B9) will help your baby’s spine to develop properly. Studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect by up to 70%.
Where Can I Find Folic Acid?
It is important to try and eat more food that contains folic acid and or more foods with added folic acid such as breakfast cereals. Take a look at some food sources rich in folic acid :
Kale, Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, spring greens. It is important that you do not overcook these vegetables as this can destroy the folic acid content.
Raspberries, Satsuma’s, blackberries, black eyed beans, brown rice, peanuts, hazelnuts and walnuts.
Some bread and breakfast cereals also have added folic acid in the ingredients, this is usually displayed on the label.
Folic Acid Supplements
Most healthcare professionals will recommend you take a folic acid supplement every day prior to trying to conceive and continue taking them on a daily basis till around 12 weeks of your pregnancy. This can be taken in the form of a tablet containing 400 micrograms (0.4 mg). You can easily purchase these tablets from most chemists, health food shops and some supermarkets.
We include a 3 month (90 tablets) supply of Folic acid supplements within our Deluxe insemination
and Deluxe Plus insemination kits